Andrew Abrahamson, a graduate of the University of Liverpool in Latin American Studies, is a Project Officer in Educational Opportunities. One of a team of five working with Professor Fluffy, a colourful fluffy character used as a teaching aid to educate schoolchildren about life at university, his main responsibility is organising campus visits for local primary schools to raise aspirations to stay in education.
9:00am: We have a busy day today! A group of Year 5 pupils from a Knowsley Primary school are coming to the university today to find out what it is like here. I meet with the students who will be working with them today: as well as the Student Advocates who will lead activities and act as rolemodels, we also have some third year Chemistry students who, as part of their dissertation module have developed a range of fun hands-on activities for the young people to do today!
10:00am: The school arrives and we greet them before walking them back to VGM, our base at the heart of the university. They marvel at the size of the university and at how grand the buildings are! After a brief introduction they split into groups and start the activities!
10:45am: The activities have gone really well! The undergraduates have worked really hard to make sure all the activities are incredibly interactive while at the same time educational. Science subjects are often dropped by young people today, so it is very important to make sure that we engage them in them at an early age. The students really have understood how important it is and have worked overtime to get these activities in top shape. They will make great teachers someday!
11.30am: The young people head out for a campus tour. It is really important to show them how different university is from school. It is more than just a big school, but a mini village where students can take part in lots of different activities. The sports centre, Guild and libraries are key high points of the tour and will be remembered by the visitors for years to come.
12.30pm: Lunch time gives the students a chance to talk with their group in a less formal setting, answering questions about university and student life. All the young people and parents who have come along with them, are given the opportunity to dress up in a cap and gown and have a photo taken that will be turned into a keyring. Engaging with parents is an essential part of our programme as without their support it will be much harder for pupils to get to university.
1.30pm: After a nice lunch I leave the school to carry on with more engaging activities while I head back to my office in the beautiful old Vice-Chancellor’s office in the Victoria Building to check on the preparations going on ready for tomorrow’s campus visit from a Birkenhead School. Another year 5 class will spend the day with several Medicine students doing lots of fun activities including building skeletons, taking temperatures and measuring lung capacity, as well as exploring the campus.
2:00pm: I head up to the Jack Leggate lecture theatre where the school from Knowsley are receiving certificates to celebrate the day’s visit. They take it in turn to tell us facts that they have learnt during the day, either about university or science. They remember a huge amount of things, they, and the students have done a wonderful job! I, quite rightly, congratulate them on their successes as I hand out prizes.
3:00pm: It may be approaching the end of the day here, but for my comrades in Canada the day is just beginning. I’m heading over there to give a talk on an International Educational Policy Conference and so I have organised an international conference call to discuss my forthcoming speech.
4:00pm: The rest of the Primary Team come into my office for a team Meeting. With so many projects going on it is important to keep in close contact with my 5 strong team. I get updated on how the visit went today, and also get told of the success of a roadshow in a Liverpool Primary school that went fantastically. I update them on the new developments to our wonderful website which will soon have a STEM component to it and Canada and discuss any issues that may have arisen since our last meeting.
5:00pm: We head to the Cambridge pub for a well deserved drink. I have two new graduates who are working with us for a year and so this is great opportunity to get to know them, and find out what they want to get out of their time with us! It’s a busy but fun life here in the University of Liverpool Educational Opportunities Primary Team!
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